Sharing is Caring: How I Always Plan The (Almost) Perfect Trip

Planning The Perfect Trip #explore #travel

Plotting short-term, last-minute trips can seem unattainable for some budgets, but I swear to you, it can be done.

 

Plenty of bloggers focus on the budget aspect, but this post will be about the tools I personally use to save money without adding stress.

 

If you haven’t signed up for reward miles on at least three airlines you use frequently, you’re basically throwing away free vacations! Southwest Airlines is one of my favorite rewards programs, and I’ve used miles for roundtrip from Florida to Colorado and Florida to Hawaii. Alaska Airlines is another generous rewards program. Programs that are popular internationally are American Airlines, British Airways, and Delta. Why not sign up for each airline when you purchase a ticket?

 

No idea where to begin? Meet The Points Guy. This site has all the rewards points resources you could ever need. Complete beginners can begin here and sign up for every major loyalty program. Perfect site for finding info about free flights!

 

Picking A Destination

Pinterest

Unless it’s for an academic paper, Pinterest is the first resource I use for pretty much everything. Planning a trip usually involves searches like “colorful” +”beach” under the travel category. Once I find a destination,  Don’t forget to actually click on the pins to get the most info! This is also the perfect way to find new travel blogs (remember those experts I mentioned?) to follow.

Pinterest Burano Travel Planning Arsenal #travel

Visit Expert Pages

Y’all know those blogs where you know exactly what the blogger knows well? Let them lead the way! A few of my favorite expert bloggers are:

Heart My Backpack Sylvia has an excellent collection of information on what she now claims as her home country, Norway.

Alex In Wanderland Alex has multiple intensive posts on the land of smiles (and elephants) Thailand.

Travel Alphas Maddie and Mauricio seem to get all around the world, but I never skip visiting their site before planning anything Europe-related. 

Travel Planning Arsenal Visit Expert Pages #traveltips

 

Getting There

Before you leave…Male sure to get some form of travel insurance. It can be quite cheap if you already have health insurance. Kayak, Booking.com and other booking companies often offer the option of insurance which includes everything from health issues to emergency evacuation. 

Rome2Rio 

Everytime I visit a country, I like to see what my day trip options are. Ideally, visiting more than one country on a trip. For example, I’ll be spending 9 days in Belize, and am planning on trying to stop by Guatemala. This is how my love and I got from Italy to Croatia, one of our favorite destinations. Instead of flying, we took a train from Naples to Bari. Then we hopped on an overnight ferry and sailed away. The ferry is massive, and some people brought cars! We lucked out and got a room to ourselves and a shared bathroom, which I saw not one soul during our overnight trip. Highly recommend bringing snacks if you’re a picky eater, I vaguely remember eating a burger and french fries. It was one of the most unique travel experiences I’ve had thus far.

Rome2Rio Travel Planning Arsenal #travel #explore

Google Flights

Unlike 3rd party sites, Google Flights gives you real-time ticket prices. It never hurts to clear your cookies, but google flights has yet to price-gouged me. Not only does Google Flights help you out financially, other useful options include ‘exploring’ multiple destinations, ‘discovering’ destinations, and receiving alerts for pre-planned flights.

Travel Planning Arsenal Google Flights #travel

 

Seat Guru

Have you ever received the only no-view window seat in the plane? Or chosen emergency aisle only to discover the seats do not recline ? I have, and it sucks. Flights longer than 2 hours must be checked on Seatguru. Don’t be afraid! A few considerations are proximity to restrooms and galleys, exit rows, and leg room size. For example, on long flights, I love to chat with the flight attendants in the galley. Always have a hilarious story or two.

 

 

Travel Planning Arsenal Seat Guru #traveltips

 

Airbnb

I absolutely adore a nice hotel, but nothing beats an amazing apartment at city center. Europe has a particular abundance of flats for rent, many with balconies and private outdoor space. If you are absolutely not going to clean on your trip, you might want to consider a private room in a hostel or boutique hotel.

Travel Planning Arsenal Airbnb #traveltips #explore

HostelWorld

HostelWorld’s filter features are quite brilliant. My favorite one being the “Private Room” options. Particularly in Europe and parts of South America, private rooms in hostels are a much cheaper (and often nicer) option. If you have any issues like wanting A/C or a specific neighborhood, you can figure it all out before you book on HostelWorld.

Travel Planning Arsenal Hostelworld #travel #explore


Kayak

If nothing sticks out to me, I’ll venture over to Kayak to scope out the best hotels. Don’t forget to clear your history/cookies if you do more than one or two searches. One of my favorite features of Kayak is the map view. If I’m traveling to a new city, I’ll do a little neighborhood research to see which one has late night dining, pharmacy, public transport, and any other aspect I find necessary to happiness. Then, I visit Kayak to see if any accommodation is near my goal neighborhood.

How To Plan The Perfect Trip #explore #travel

 

 

Vayable

This website is interesting because it connects you with locals in designated cities to have adventures. You select where you plan on going, and find an itinerary. A few interesting ones are a 3-hour graffiti tour in San Francisco and visiting a Paris flea market. Personally think it’s amazing because it supports local economies at the most basic level.

How To Plan The Perfect Trip #explore #travel

Bandsintown

Is the perfect website for any stage in your travel planning. Simply put in your tentative dates and location, and you have a list of all the upcoming music shows. Type A personality? Look up any potential venues on Instagram and judge away.

Travel Planning Arsenal Bandsintown #travel #explore

Road Trippers

Is a surprisingly helpful site when planning trips in the USA! Unfortunately, the site seems to only feature North America. Luckily, North America is HUGE and contains plenty of interesting stops. The site has excellent quirky stops and city guides. We’re talking everything from Seattle grunge to “ghost-tours” quirky. My favorite? The Michigan Fall Leaves guide. So pretty! You can also choose a beginning and final destination and select points of interest, like shown below.

 

Travel Planning Arsenal Roadtrippers #travel #explore

 

 

And that’s how we do it! Are there any other secret travel websites I should know about? Has anyone used a travel agent for planning a trip?

11 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Trip To Ghana

11 Things I Wish I had Known Before Visiting Ghana || #explore #ghana #africa

After 18 days in Ghana, I can happily say I’d love to make a trip back! The weather was heavenly, the people were beyond kind, and it was so affordable. BUT it would have gone a lot smoother if I had known these now-obvious tips. Every single issue I had was 100% preventable and now you can be sure the avoid the same mistakes I made. Overall, Ghana is way easier than the majority of places I have traveled to.

 

1. You must get your yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to travel.

Get Your Yellowfever Shot- 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Ghana #africa #explore

As I mentioned previously, I was unaware of this until after I had waited too long to get my vaccination. Luckily, the CDC or WHO states that the vaccination will be effective seven days prior to departure. So I went ahead to Ghana with a premature vaccination and got stopped at border patrol. I’ll go into detail a little later on the post, but just know that Ghana is quite known for “corruption” in the form of bribery. Unfortunately, I only had a $20 bill on me when I probably could have given a $5 bill and been completely safe.

2. Bribing happens everywhere.

Bribes Everywhere in Ghana - 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Ghana #africa #explore

Ah yes. My first encounter with Ghana was literally bribing to get through the vaccination check. Police will try to get a bribe from cab drivers who do not keep their inspection stickers present. Even the president has been accused of (and struggles to deny) bribery during power. The only benefit to this applies to the airport, even though it’s probably wrong. The line for the ticketing counter was atrocious, but plenty of people popped over to the side with 10 or so cedis and skipped the whole line. To each his own.

3. There is no WIFI at the airport.

No Wifi in Airport - 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Ghana #africa #explore

Make all of your accommodation plans ahead of time! When my ride got my flight time and local address wrong (oh yeah, it was reallll bad- after about 26 hours of traveling from California to Africa my ride showed almost two hours late!) I was held by border patrol until she showed up… An hour and a half after my flight had landed. There wasn’t wifi for me to simply look up hotel to provide another address to write down.

4. … Or really anywhere.

There isn't much wifi in Ghana #travel

Unlike Europe and other tourist friendly areas, Ghana has very limited public wifi. From my understanding, data is a little costly and most people use those little personal wifi boxes. After nearly three weeks I was ecstatic and baffled upon finding a café that provided free wifi. Of course, it didn’t actually work. Consider bringing an unlocked smart phone (check with your provider as to not break any contracts), buy a cheap smart phone upon arrival, or download one of these amazing map apps that work without service.

5. Expect to get told the “Obroni Rate” or as I call it, “Tourist Tax.”

Pay The Tourist Tax- 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Ghana #africa #explore

Obroni, sounds like “oh-bro-knee”, is the word for foreigner and in particular, white person. Ah yes, the ole haggle with the cabbie task. There are a million and one taxis in Ghana, and Accra specifically. Of these, 9/10 will offer you an outrageous price on the first try. Before this can happen, ask a friend (or anyone standing near you, people are SO helpful) how much the price of the cab should be from point A to point B. No clue? Simply offer half of what the taxi offers and gage their reaction. Even if it’s a fair price, some will still pressure you to pay more. Just step back, say no thank you, and wait for another cab. If they drive away, you know you offered too little. If they wave you over, you now know your pricing. Note: Not to tell you what to do buuuut, consider what an extra 5 cedis is to compared to a taxi driver in Ghana. Let them know it’s not cool to price gauge, but throw in a tip.

 

 

6. Food is available 24/7 on nearly every road. 


People hawk for the majority of the day, everything from towels to USBs to puppies. After two weeks of crepes and eggs I got pretty invested in the street hawkers. Have to mention that some of them are children, and usually are hawking until they get enough to pay for their school fees. Call me a sinner but I’ll usually just through them a cedi or two and not take what they are selling. Generally I’ve been warned a million times to not give to child beggars and have heard horror stories of people “renting” babies and children to illicit sympathy only to keep the majority of the money for themselves and pennies for the parent (who may or may not use that to the child’s benefit). The best bet for that is to keep a pack of grapes, plantain chips, or other semi-healthy snack to give to the children.

 

 

7. The people are extremely friendly.


It took me a minute to understand that when someone gives me directions, they don’t want a tip. Generally while traveling, I have to constantly swipe away handsy men who think they will get some cash if they carry my suitcase a few blocks. The only time we had a situation like that was in Cape Coast where a guy basically just tried to ride around the cab with us giving us “advice” even though we knew where we were going. And we tried to tell him that. He didn’t even really ask for anything but I could tell he was hoping for it. Besides strangers, all our neighbors were chatty and one lovely lady would pop by the house to visit with us.

8. Using your left hand is considered rude. 

Use Your Right Hand In Ghana- 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Ghana #africa #exploreEven though this applies to a large portion of the world, I still forgot until I messed up and someone corrected me. When greeting, there is this little handshake thing that involves snapping your fingers. Don’t make the mistake of trying to do it with your left! You’ll most likely get a tt-tt-tt noise and a disapproving headshake. This also includes when you’re exchanging money for goods. Sort of a pain in the ass, but when in Rome…

 

 

9. The food is spicy and CHEAP.


As someone who enjoys rice for breakfast and spices, I was in heaven for a few weeks. Usually a road-side stand would give me pork or chicken and yam chips (fries) for around 8-12 cedis or $2-$6. Expect grilled tilapia, chunks or pork, and seasoned grilled chicken. My favorite dish was the Goat Lite soup, which was sooo salty and usually a little spicy. No matter how much I loved watching the little goats jump around town, I didn’t think twice about ordering goat lite soup. Sorry kids 😉 (get it? Baby goats are called…)

10. Public transportation is extremely affordable (tro-tro!) but cramped and slow.


For under 1 cedi you can pretty much get anywhere in Accra. The photo was taken on one of my many tro-tro rides- notice the bagged water? You can get it pretty much anywhere. Circle is the rightfully named circular area where you can catch tro-tros around the city. Honestly don’t think there is an actual schedule or a way to figure out your path. Ask anyone in your path, and you can be certain you are headed in the right direction. It can be a little overwhelming for some people, so if you don’t want to be touched or talked to, just walk around with bitch-face and no one will mess with you.

 

 

10. Accra is a happenin’ town.


Like many capital cities, Accra has plenty to do. Being there less than a month still provided me with a huge book fair, arts + music festival, and the Homowu Festival. There is SO much to do! One of my favorite spots that I stumbled upon pretty briefly was the +233 Jazz Bar. When I popped by, a beautiful woman was singing so beautifully I almost teared up. And people were dancing everywhere! My kinda place 😉 We also made it out to Tea Bar, a really  hip little spot with phenomenal food. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had the BEST salad in the city. Best part? They have TIPSY tea. Oh yeah. Get the peach + rum.

 

 

11. You have to exchange to another currency if you have more than 500 Cedi upon departure. (That’s about $130.00)


As briefly mentioned, corruption is rampant in Ghana. The only thing that will happen to you is getting your money confiscated. Since it is a small amount of cash in the grand scheme of things, it can be easy to show up at the airport with too many cedis only to have them snatched. Don’t let it ruin your trip at the very end!

Have you ever been to Ghana? What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened to you on a trip?

18 Ways To Stay Safe While Traveling (And Still Have a Kick-Ass Time!)

How To Stay Safe While Traveling and Still Have a Kick-Ass Time #travel #explore #wanderlust

“Aren’t you scared?”

How many times have you been asked that same question about your travels? I know some people get annoyed when their parents or loved ones try to deter them from exploring out of fear. Maybe they aren’t worried. The truth is, I can get quite scared when I travel, which is one of the reasons I do it. One way I avoid soul-crushing anxiety is by keeping myself prepared for the worst and being (slightly) vigilant. I’ve written briefly about the time these tour guides were trying to separate my friend and I in Thailand. Not saying I’m perfect, but I’ve definitely picked up a thing or two. As we say at my Alma Mater, “It ain’t my first rodeo.” Okay, they might say that elsewhere, but I can only speak to what I know.

The point is…

Over 98% of my travels have been perfectly safe, and plenty of explorers never have a bad experience. 

But there are some tips and tricks to the trade! This isn’t going a post regarding potential scams around the world, but rather specific concepts that come in handy when you’re alone or in an unfamiliar area. Having a wild trip doesn’t mean you have to get hurt or in trouble. Don’t get anything stolen, don’t end up in a hospital, and don’t get arrested. 

In Ghana, a group of us (five North Americans under 30) were hanging out in Cape Coast a little late at night. It was the night before President Mahama was to speak in the city, and the drumming ban was lifted. Down the street, people were partying like crazy and we wanted to join! Before we even got within 50 feet of the festivities, multiple children told us we should leave before we get robbed. Having lived in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, I knew better than to be hanging around in an area after I’m told not to. My best buddy on the trip, K, has also lived outside of D.C., and gave me the look. So, after collecting the valuables from one of our group mates, we started walking back to the hotel.

The difference between 7 p.m. in Cape Coast and 10:30 p.m. is vastly differently. People were smoking the ganja everywhere and believe me, I would’ve gladly joined if I hadn’t already been warned that pretty much only the legitimate gangstas smoke weed in parts of Ghana. Gun-toting, people snatching gangstas. And college kids at the University of Ghana.  And as soon as we pass the group, for the first time in my travels, someone grabbed my arm hard. I ripped my arm away and screamed, “NO TOUCHING! ANY OF YOU!” like a crazy lady. And continued to walk down the middle of the road. Because that’s how you keep people from f’king with you when y’all don’t have cash for a cab and have a mile until the hotel.

Within 15 minutes of us getting to the hotel, our group came back. They had been robbed.

Before You Arrive

Map Out the Embassy

Even if you aren’t visiting a capital city, you should consider finding the address of the embassy as well as the phone number. If your passport gets stolen and you don’t speak the local language, having the embassy number will be a major time-saver.

How To Safe While Traveling = Map Out Embassy

Read The News

With the internet giving us everything we need to know at the touch of a fingertip, it’s easy to stay up to date on local politics. Some things to be wary of are: protests, elections, important speakers, royalty’s birthdays, national holidays. You can still enjoy these aspects of travel, but from a well-informed distance.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Read The News #wanderlust #explore #tips

Get the Recommended Medicines

Getting yellowfever is no joke, not to mention they usually won’t even let you inside certain countries without the vaccine. Malaria medication is recommended to start prior to a trip and waiting to contract the disease will really give you something to bitch about.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Get Vaccinations

International Health Insurance

Just do it. My last policy was about $16.00 for a month of travel. Especially if you’re heading to a part of the world you’ve never been before, health insurance is a necessity. Something as simple as brushing your teeth with tainted water can put you in a hospital. Going somewhere with limited healthcare? Be sure to sign up for a contract that allows air-evacuation.

Sorry First Class, The Safest Seats Are In The Back

The chances of your plane going down are slim to none, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take extra precaution for that slim chance! Luckily, most airlines let you choose your seat before you arrive at the airport. Check out seat guru to ensure your seat isn’t too far from an exit window.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Sit In The Back #explore #tips

During Your Travels

Sit By a Window On Public Transport

Not only will you be able to take in the views, you’ll be more mobile than if you were squished in-between people. Being able to remove yourself from a tro-tro/tuk-tuk accident is a matter of life or death. Not having any luck finding one? Feign like you have motion sickness that will only be cured by watching out the window (LOL- I hate myself a little for this advice, but sheet we all gotta do what we all gotta do) and surely someone will remove themselves for you.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Sit By A Window On Public Transportation #tips

Keep Important Info Available

Your phone WILL eventually die. Even with those little battery packs, I’ve gotten stuck for 6-12 hours without my phone + notes +emails + maps. Write down on paper, yes REAL authentic paper, the address of your hotel and the number to get directions.

Stay Safe While Traveling - Write Important Info Down

Let Your People Know Exactly Where You Are

This is a pain in the ass, I know. But sending updates, multiple times a day, will be essentially to getting you safe if anything bad happens. And with all the options we have- call, Facetime, email, whatsapp, etc., there’s no excuse! Not only major destinations, but any national parks or day trips. Be sure to give clear, specific details and names of any person that joins you during your travels.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Keep In Touch #traveltips

Take Photos of Your Cab Drivers Info

Unfortunately, there have been incidents of fake taxis kidnapping or assaulting innocent passengers. Let ’em know you aren’t playing games by snapping a photo of what they are legally required to display. Anytime someone gets flustered, get a new ride. There are always plenty around.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Taxi Rules #explore #tips

Don’t Split Up!

LADIES- we all have urges that might feel uncontrollable, especially while on a grand adventure, but don’t leave your friends for the D! Showing up at an unknown location for a temporary romp is not only a serious safety hazard, but you could get lost trying to get back. If he/she wants you that bad, they can find a nice private hostel room near by (sorry mum).

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Stay Together

Listen to the Locals

If you are told that you are probably going to get robbed, you should leave. If you “have a feeling” you aren’t welcome there, you should leave. Your life is not worth a few Instagram pics to prove you did something wild!

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Listen to The Locals #explore #tips

“Lock” Your Door With A Door Stop Or A Chair

fF you aren’t expecting anyone during the night, take a little extra precaution and pack a door stop. Already traveling? Grab a chair (usually will have one in your hotel room and if in hostel, check the lobby) and nuzzle it under the door handle.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Lock Your Door

Walk Where You Will Be Seen By Most At Night

Realistically, if someone is planning on doing something sketchy, they will have seen you WAY before you see them. Hiding on the side-walk right next to alleyways is just silly. Walk in the middle of the road (until a car comes!) and assert your dominance.

how to stay safe while traveling - walk where you will be seen #travel #explore

Stagger-Walk in Groups

If it’s you and two friends walking down a dark street at night, consider staggering a few feet away from each other. No one needs to know who is on your side and who isn’t. Avoid huddling up and appearing small. When worse comes to worst, at least one of you will be able to scramble away to get help or swoop in to save the day.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Stagger Walk In Groups #travel #tips

If It’s About To Go Down…

Consider Your Defenses

Unless you’ve been trained to specifically defend yourself, chances are a man twice your size will probably be able to over-take you. Nail scissors are small but helpful in bus situations. My favorite weapon? My Go-Pro stick with Go-Pro attached. I’ll whack a mofo if I have to.
How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Consider Your Defenses #traveltips #explore

Act Batshit Crazy

No joke. Just start screaming and thrashing about. Not many people feel like dealing with a mentally unstable person, let alone one who seems to be expressing their illness. Throw in a little spittle at the mouth, just in case. I’ve used this while walking home alone in major U.S. cities and I have (yet) to be messed with.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Act Crazy #travel #explore

Play Possum

Okay just to verify, playing dead with bears only works in certain situations, like a mother protecting her young. I’m referring to dealing with an active shooter situation. Not a fan of sensationalizing tragedies so I won’t point to any specific events, but playing dead in a violent situation like a mass shooting isn’t a bad idea. While the first movement is ideally physically removing yourself, it’s always necessary to have a back-up plan in you get trapped.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Play Possum #traveltips #explore

Trust Your Instincts

There’s a good chance if you’re a traveler and you’re in a violent situation, you won’t be speaking the language of the perpetrator(s). Any time a group starts to gather, be aware of the aura of attitude. Just because you don’t understand what’s being said doesn’t mean you can’t figure out what’s going on. That physically draining gnawing at the gut you get? Listen to it.

How To Stay Safe While Traveling - Trust Your Instincts #travel #explore

Overall, use that lovely little brain you have and enjoy yourself. Hope this helps!

Is Ghana Safe For Tourists?

Is Ghana Safe For Travelers? || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #Ghana #Africa…was something I tried to Google before deciding if I was going to make the trip or not. I didn’t know “diddly-squat,” as they say down south, about the country. In fact, I really wasn’t even certain if it was in West Africa or southern Africa elsewhere. There wasn’t much information on the matter and I truly feel it is my obligation to let everyone know the answer to such a pressing question.

Is Ghana safe for tourists?

Yes. Si. Oui. Ja. Can’t think of any other languages so I’ll give a hell yes!

Seriously. You can walk around at 2 a.m. with no streetlights, and not be scared. If you look even remotely distraught, someone will happily figure out how to cure your sadness. Lost? No such thing! Everyone helps each other out.

Ghana has been the only place that I’ve visited and I didn’t feel the need to take a photo of each cab that I hopped into. Any time someone asked for my number, I knew that they wouldn’t harass me. Men don’t whistle at you or try to grab your tush as you walk by.

If you’re uncomfortable with how fast the taxi or tro tro is going just speak up. The nicest aspect was not being made to feel silly when I admitted I was a little scared of going to Ghana all alone.

The Worst Thing That Happened to Me In Ghana Was 100% Preventable…

When I arrived at the airport and tried to go through immigration, the officer realized the address I was given was not a real address. No worries! I have a phone number for the host.

*Le Ring- BEEP BEEP BEEP. WE’RE SORRY, BUT THE PERSON YOU’RE TRYNG-*

I shuffle my papers around with the copy of my yellow fever card (which I did end up having to bribe my way in), address and contact info of my host, and New Lens Travel info, and try to act like I don’t notice how concerned the guard is getting. “One moment, miss.”

*Le Ring- BEEP BEEP BEEP. WE’RE SORRY, BUT THE PERSON YOU’RE TRYNG-*

They knew it was my first time in Ghana and that I was meeting with someone I had met online (yes, really). No worries, I thought, my girl is probably waiting for me outside. 

I let them know that I had someone waiting for me, probably worried since I had gotten held up at the vaccination area for 15 minutes and then another 10 at the immigration place. They happily supplied someone to walk me outside to help me check out where people gather to pick up their visitors. My girl, we shall call her J-Baby, was no where to be found. WEIRD. “She’s got to be here!” I swear.

They shoot each other worried glances.

Don’t forget, I had been traveling for about 30 hours without a shower or so much as a nap. Running into J-Baby’s arms and being whisked to a shower was all I had been fantasizing about for days. But she wasn’t there!

*Shivers nervously as the last passengers in the last flight in for the night waltz past me and lights start turning off*

SHE HAS GOT TO BE HERE! I start twitching. Stinky, sad, and downright HUNGRY, I prayed she would arrive.

20 minutes pass by. Now my concerned immigration crew has grown from one grown-ass man to four grown-ass men and one woman. We continue to search the building while the officers try to look her up on Facebook to contact her.

SHIIIIIT. What if everyone has been right my whole life? What if leaping before I look will ultimately lead to my demise?! What if this was a plot to get me kidnapped at ransomed?!

By now, I’m starting to cry, and whimper, and drop the “f-bomb” enough to make all my angels shake their heads in heaven. Please, I beg. please just let me see her little beautiful face.

Over two hours later, I friggin hate myself for making these wonderful people stay late. I beg to just let me go to a hotel, but they were genuinely concerned for my safety. That amazed me. One last time, I say, we shall check outside.

And of course, there she was, a little frantic because I was surrounded by guards.

What was the issue? She had gotten my flight time wrong. If I had been anywhere else, I would’ve been rejected OR had to deal with sleeping at the airport.


Overall, my biggest advice is to simply trust your gut and listen to the locals. I’ll write soon about my friend getting robbed in Cape Coast and how that was also 100% preventable. 

Remember people, fear is the thief of dreams!

10 Perfectly Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights

10 Mesmerizing Books Perfect  for Long Flights || a tipsy gypsy life #explore #travel #traveltips

Not having anything to read on a flight is my personal hell. Even worse is getting pumped up for a book only to get 5 pages in, realize the prose is terrible, and spend the entire 5-hour flight flipping through SkyMall whilst fighting back tears of regret. But I won’t let that shit happen to you! When searching for a book to travel with (or download), I generally look for a few specific things. Unless it was recommended, the book I choose must pass at least one of the following stipulations-

  • Under 150 pages
  • Has a reflection component
  • Transports me to another land
  • Easy to start and stop
  • Divided into short sections (or collection of short stories)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe || 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

SHIVER! This book literally changed my life when I was 15 years old. I would highly advise not doing any research on this book and jumping right in. The most important part of the story is breathtaking if you aren’t expecting it. Even if you are a snoopy little beotch, the novel is full of unexpected twists. The effects of globalization and different cultures clashing is essential to understand for travelers!

 

 

 

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

Finished this book in a few hours- it was that good.  The prose is so beautifully written and intricate, it could make a grown man weep. You can almost feel the Columbian sun on your shoulders and the damp floors of the dungeon. Marquez never fails to transport you to another world. The story itself is a little intense, with themes of pedophila (for lack of a better word) and religious infidelities. 

 

 

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

SO strangely interesting. More like a poem than a novel, the text has a little historical context. Inspired by the Greek myth of Geryon and the Tenth Labor of Herakles, the story revolves around three gay men in Argentina. I don’t want to give it away but I will say the best part is how damn poetic the whole thing is. There is also a crazy love triangle that is slightly hard to decipher. Keeps you wondering. 

 

Four-Hour-Workweek by Tim Ferris

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

Okay, this guy is a legitimate legend. Talk about inspiring! I’m very into the whole alternative lifestyle, as in, there is no way in hell I’m sitting in a cubicle from 9:00-5:00 Monday-Friday. That just ain’t me, and it never has been. Even if you have no desire to quit your job, you really should read this book. He gives excellent time-management and prioritizing advice. Upgrade your life, love!

 

Animal Farm by George Orwell

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

If you haven’t read this by now, stop what your doing and pick this book up! I might be a nerd, but this is one of the novels I will re-read every few years just to get a reminder of what a damn good story is. The writing is simple enough to transport the heavy topic of communism, and it’s short enough that you’d be able to finish it on a long flight.

 

 

 

 

 

#GIRLBOSS By Sophia Amoruso

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

To me, flying is a wonderful way to disconnect with the world and reconnect with yourself. What better way to do this than by getting in touch with your inner boss bitch? Amoruso has a ton of honest, realistic advice and hilarious stories of how she got where she is today. She’s an inspiration to me because she had a million dollars cash from her business before she even went to the bank. Care about the job and the money will find you faster than the guy at the bar who already bought you three drinks.  Did I mention she’s the founder of Nasty Gal? Oh yeah. She a bad one. 

 

 

 

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

You are a bad ass || 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

Not sure how the world feels about “Self-Help” books, but I am a HUGE fan of personal development. Why the hell wouldn’t you want to be the best you that you can be?! Broken down into digestible chapters, she has basically taken centuries of knowledge and condensed it into modern language. Like really modern language. This lady is painfully hilarious and hits it home on pretty much every single point she makes. Great for anyone who is a little travel-shy and wants to bust out of that shell.

 

 

 

 

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

This Is How You Lose Her || 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

Swear to G, this man will go down as the voice of our generation. Okay, he might be considered the generation above, but don’t let that stop you from devouring some of the best literature of our time. Diaz manages to provide painfully realistic love and life stories in a few pages. Although the stories are technically short essays, they all end up intertwining at the end. My stomach was in knots, tears of joy fell, and I gasped enough to have the person next to me ask if something was wrong. F’kin amazing book. 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

Actually had the pleasure of reading this book during my (mostly) solo trip to Europe. If you have a habit of slightly embarrassing yourself, this one will make you feel as graceful as Queen B herself. One woman reflects on her hilarious journey from a small town in Texas to a semi-successful blogging career and adulthood. Very light-hearted.

 

 

 

 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

|| 10 Mesmerizing Books for Long Flights #travel #explore

DOUBLE SHUDDER! Another killer collection of short stories by a voice of our time. Sherman Alexie, a Native American poet and writer, does an unreal job at transporting you to the USA’s reservations. Some scenes are gut-wrenchingly sad, but with every stab to the heart, Alexie heals with insight into human nature. You’ll know my favorite story when he talks about his mom doing the rain-dance. 

What’s your favorite travel book? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?